Somehow, Duke taught me how to dance.
I was one of those kids in high school who stood in the corner with his friends at events like prom, refusing to dance. I was too self-conscious and too uptight. I acted like I didn't care about it, like I was "above" dancing or that I was too "cool" to dance, but I secretly always wanted to be out there on the floor having fun. I don't think any of my high-school friends would call me the life of the party, or even a part of the party, really. I wasn't shy, but I just couldn't bring myself to dance.
Entering Duke's party scene gave me a fresh start. I decided to give dancing a try, and it wasn't so bad. I managed. I had fun.
With the solution to that problem came another. With whom, exactly, am I supposed to dance? And where?
Dancing with both my male and female friends in groups is fine. I have a great time. When it comes to dancing one-on-one, however, the situation becomes a little more difficult. If I go to Shooters, I can't help but watch the couples with jealousy. I want to dance with someone to whom I'm really attracted, too.
And I have. Once upon a Tailgate (my first and only...), I danced with one of my gay friends. We danced... well. Being very new to Duke, I don't think I ever would have mustered up the courage to dance like that with a guy in that venue out of the Tailgate state of mind. We received a few compliments and pats on the back, but, even more so, we received criticism. Members of whichever section in which we were dancing asked us to leave, but we didn't. No one seemed to have a problem with us aside from these few people. That's what we told them. We weren't bothering anyone. They left us alone. We danced on.
Of course, that's not how every situation (or perhaps even most situations) plays out.
I'm writing this to hear your stories and your thoughts. I don't know if dancing like that is something I would do again in a similar situation. Of course I want to, and of course I have every right to, but would I? I don't know. Removed from the comfort of an LGBT-friendly club, would you dance with whom you really want to dance? Would you take your partner to Shooters?
I know there are places where I can dance with whomever I want without judgment, but, when the moment's right, I should be able to dance wherever, whenever, right?